Monitoring coastal bird populations in BC: the first five years of the Coastal Waterbird Survey (1999–2004)

Shannon S. Badzinski,1 Richard J. Cannings,2 Tasha E. Armenta,3 Jason Komaromi,4 and Jack Bowling5,6

1 Bird Studies Canada, PO Box 160, Port Rowan, Ontario N0E 1M0
2 Site 11, Box 96, RR#1, Naramata, BC V0H 1N0
3 General Delivery, 1125 Roberts Creek Road, Roberts Creek, BC V0N 2W0
4 Canadian Wildlife Service, Pacific Wildlife Research Centre, 5421 Robertson Road, RR#1, Delta, B.C. V4K 3N2
5 Bird Studies Canada, Pacific Wildlife Research Centre, 5421 Robertson Road, RR#1, Delta, B.C. V4K 3N2; e-mail:
6 Corresponding Author

Abstract: The Coastal Waterbird Survey conducts standardised, high-tide bird counts at approximately 180 sites annually along the British Columbia coastline. More than 400 volunteers have contributed to this effort since its inception in winter 1999-2000. Results for the first five winters are reported here. Analysis was based on the mid-winter months for most species, which were wintering migrants. These early data were powerful enough to generate credible estimates of population trends for nine of the 58 most commonly recorded species. An apparent increasing trend was seen in the population indices for Doublecrested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron and Bufflehead. Bald Eagle showed a declining trend. There was no significant five year trend for Common Loon, Horned Grebe, Mallard, Common Goldeneye and Harlequin Duck. Among the other 49 species, apparent upward trends in 9 species and downward trends in 10 species were not supported by the statitstical analyses, since their data did not meet the criterion which had been adopted. After six more winters of observation, statistically credible trends should be discernable for 34 species of birds. The survey is coordinated by Bird Studies Canada and supported by the Canadian Wildlife Service; analysis was performed by those agencies. Data from the survey are freely available on request.

Key words: waterbirds, waterfowl, migratory birds, count, monitor, population trends, citizen science, coastal, British Columbia, volunteer

PDFicon Badzinski, S.S., R.J. Cannings, T.E. Armenta, J. Komaromi, and P.J. Davidson. 2008. Monitoring coastal bird populations in B.C. The first five years of coastal waterbird survey (1999-2004). British Columbia Birds 17:1-35.


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